Bolton v Aston Villa reaction

Villa took the lead in the 33rd minute when Marc Albrighton prodded

in Gabriel Agbonlahor’s cross, and Stiliyan Petrov doubled their

advantage six minutes later with a strike that went in off former

Villa man Gary Cahill. Ivan Klasnic reduced the deficit 10 minutes

into the second half but Wanderers could not salvage a point as the

visitors held firm, demonstrating a resilience that McLeish was

particularly pleased with. “I’m delighted to get the first away win

of the season,” McLeish said. “It’s been a long time coming – we

have thrown away a couple of opportunities, so well done to the

players for digging deep at the end under a barrage of Bolton

attacks. “It is credit to their mental toughness, and hopefully

that is improving after capitulating at a couple of other away

venues.” Villa’s 2-0 lead at half-time was fully merited after they

dominated the opening 45 minutes. Petrov and Darren Bent squandered

good opportunities before the deadlock was broken, with the latter

also being guilty of a glaring miss after the break. Asked if he

thought the victory should have been more comfortable, McLeish –

whose side are now up to eighth in the Barclays Premier League –

said: “I think so. Bolton were always in it, and certainly were

when they got the early goal in the second half. “We maybe switched

off a wee bit in terms of the things we had been doing in the first

half. “But after they got that early goal, we were prepared for a

battle. “The first-half performance was very good. There were a

couple of good goals, although we did miss two or three chances.”

As well as being their seventh defeat in eight home league games,

this was Bolton’s 12th loss overall from 15 top-flight fixtures

this term and they have slumped to the bottom of the table. Manager

Owen Coyle – who confirmed Klasnic had come off due to a twisted

knee – bemoaned his side’s defending and expressed his concern at

the attitude they had shown in the first half. “Disappointment is

an understatement, because we were at home and looking to win the

game and start moving up the league,” Coyle said. “It is a horrible

feeling. I thought the game started evenly with two teams looking

quite nervous, but then we conspired towards our own downfall.

“Aston Villa have some very good players, but we made four or five

individual mistakes within the first goal – it was self-inflicted.

“Then you are looking for a reaction, for people to show a bit of

guts, desire and hunger for the football club, but if the truth be

told, for a few minutes, they looked as if they felt sorry for

themselves, and that allowed Aston Villa to get a second goal. “It

is a good strike from Petrov which has hit Gary Cahill and spun in,

but if we had been shutting down that wouldn’t have transpired. “At

half-time I asked, if nothing else, for them to show that they care

for the club in the second half, and they did that. “There were

still some mistakes, but it was a much better performance and much

more like ourselves. “But it is not good enough to just do it for

the duration of a second half, it has to be for the entirety of a

match. “When we do that, we have shown we can pick up points and

win games.”